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Singapore financial industry set for big gains: Tharman

Nearly every segment of Asia's financial industry is set to grow by significant multiples over the next 10 to 15 years, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

Although financial companies operating in Asia face challenges, growth drivers remain intact and the Asian market will not face a sharp dislocation, Mr Tharman said at the official opening of DBS' new headquarters.

"One bright spot is demand for financing in Asia. Demand for almost every segment of Asian finance is also growing - trade and structured trade finance, cross-border corporate lending, infrastructure finance, capital-raising in equity and bond markets, corporate treasury services and wealth management," Mr Tharman said.

Mr Tharman, who is also Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, added that while a dull global growth outlook and a stricter regulatory structure will restrain banks' ability to provide long-term financing, "I don't think we'll see a sudden dislocation in Asian finance."

Mr Tharman singled out Asia's bond markets as a segment poised for significant growth, noting that the region saw US$800 billion (S$972.7 billion) of issuance in the first three quarters of the year, versus US$525 billion last year.

"Over the long term, I've no doubt that the Asian bond markets - they will now have their day. This next 10 years is going to be a period where we're going to see significant growth in the Asian bond markets."

Speaking at the official opening of DBS' new headquarters at the Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, Mr Tharman emphasised the need for local banks such as DBS to remain deeply rooted in Singapore, even as they expand into the region to ride on Asia's growth.

DBS inaugurated its new home, DBS Asia Central, at Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 yesterday.

The flagship branch, which comprises 18 levels across more than 600,000 square feet, is the largest corporate fit-out in Singapore and integrates the bank's customer-facing units, including consumer banking, institutional banking, treasury and markets and wealth management, under one roof.

Over 4,800 DBS staff, or more than 50 per cent of its workforce in Singapore, are housed at the new premises.

The flagship branch leverages on technology to improve efficiency and customer service. Customers visiting the branch will be able to pre-complete electronic forms, conduct self-service transactions or access DBS products or Asia insights via iPads provided in the banking hall prior to being served at the Quick Serve counters.

(Source: Todayonline)


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